|Battle of Round Mountain
Campaign: Operations in the Indian Territory (1861)
Date(s): November 19, 1861
Principal Commanders: Chief Opothleyahola [U]; Col. Douglas H. Cooper [CS]
Forces Engaged: Creek and Seminole [U]; Indian Department [CS]
Confederates: 1 captain and 5 men killed, 3 severely and 1 slightly wounded, and 1 missing.
Union: about 110 killed and wounded.
Result(s): Confederate victory
The Battle of Round Mountain (also known as Round Mountains and Red Fork) was fought November 19, 1861, in what is now Payne County, Oklahoma (then Indian Territory) during the War Between the States.
Col. Douglas H. Cooper, Confederate commander of the Indian Department, had not been able to reconcile differences with Chief Opothleyahola (sometimes spelled Opothle Yahola) , who commanded a band of Unionist Creeks and Seminoles. Cooper set out on November 15, 1861, with about 1,400 men to either compel submission . . . or “drive him and his party from the country.” His force rode up the Deep Fork of the Canadian River towards Chief Opothleyahola’s camp which they found deserted. On November 19, Cooper learned from captured prisoners that part of Opothleyahola’s band was at the Red Fork of the Arkansas River, where they were erecting a fort.
Cooper’s men arrived there around 4:00 p.m. and he ordered a cavalry charge, which discovered that Opothleyahola’s followers had recently abandoned their camp. The Confederates did find some stragglers beyond the camp and followed them, with the 4th Texas blundered into Opothleyahola’s warriors at the surrounding treeline at the foot of the Round Mountains. The Federals fired into the Confederate cavalry and, in large force, came out to attack them. They chased the Confederates back to Cooper’s main force. Darkness prevented Cooper from attacking until the main enemy force was within 60 yards. A short fight ensued but Opothleyahola’s men broke it off and retreated back to their camp after setting the prairie grass on fire.
On the morning of November 20, 1861 Cooper set out for Opothleyahola’s new camp the but found it gone. At the ford on Salt Creek Cooper found “a field of graves”, Chief Opothleyahola’s buggy, 12 wagons, flour, sugar, salt, and many cattle and ponies. The Confederates claimed victory because Chief Opothleyahola had left the area. This was the first of three encounters between Opothleyahola’s Union bands and Confederate troops. At this time Cooper returned to his base camp and Opothleyahola led his followers on north. Before the end of the year the chief was forced to flee Indian Territory to Kansas.
The Confederate loss in the engagement was 1 captain and 5 men killed, 3 severely and 1 slightly wounded, and 1 missing. Opothleyahola lost about 110 killed and wounded.
Order of Battle
Cooper's Brigade - Col. Douglas Hancock Cooper
Creek and Seminole Indians - Chief Opothleyahola
- Muscogee Creeks
- Seminoles – Led by Halleck Tustenuggee and Billy Bowlegs